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Wednesday, 9 November 1921

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (Western Australia) . - I do not desire at this stage to discuss the merits or otherwise of the proposed amendments, but there is a great deal in what Senator de Largie has argued. I want to know, first, what is the actual position? What brings into being the House Committee? How is it formed ? Has it any statutory existence? Is the House Committee in any way defined in this Bill? What does that body really mean? Is this

Parliament bound, under the Constitution, to have such a Committee as a House Committee? And what would be the position if the Committee were not in fact appointed ? I am unacquainted with the facts of the position generally, but I think that there is no obligation upon any person or persons, body or bodies, to appoint a House Committee at all. In the next Parliament, there may be no such Committee.

Senator Russell - Members of the Joint House Committee are nominated generally as the outcome of a conference between the Government and the President and Speaker.

Senator Wilson - Nevertheless, members are elected; and elections would be actually necessary, no doubt, if the jobs were paid ones.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - Obviously, there is a certain amount of confusion. I understand that the Committees are, in fact, elected by the two Chambers of the existing Parliament. But these Committees have no statutory existence'. They may, or may not, be elected ; they may or may not exist. Consequently honorable senators should be careful in inserting in this Bill certain references to Parliamentary Committees, in connexion with the appointment of a, Board of Appeal, in view of the possibility that there may not any such Parliamentary Committees in existence.

Senator Wilson - For example, every member of the Senate might refuse to accept appointment to the House Committee.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - Just so. The Senate is not bound to elect members to act upon the Committee, nor is any other body, or person, bound to make such appointments. If an Appeal Board is to be appointed, which officers and employees of this Parliament may have the right to approach, care should' be taken to insure that proper action is taken at this stage.

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